It’s Time To Bereal
November 2, 2022
At any moment throughout the school day, students might take a quick look at their phones – during class, tutorial, or at lunch in mid-conversation – then turn to their friends excitedly to share a particular alert: “It’s time to BeReal.”
This notification appears on millions of phones every 24 hours. Whether shopping, walking around the city, waiting in the lunch line or sitting on their couch at home, students grab their phones to post their daily photo.
BeReal is a free iPhone app that calls on people to photograph themselves at random times during the day then post the timely snippets, creating a candid visual diary of daily life, from the unmade bed to the laptop keyboard to the special moment with friends. The app strives for a more down-to-earth feel compared to other social media apps, with less pressure to put on your best self.
“BeReal has allowed me to show myself and what I’m doing,” said senior Giovanna Cruz. “I really enjoy the app because it gets me excited!”
BeReal was created in 2019 by two French entrepreneurs, but it didn’t attract people until this year. The spread of social media app TikTok caused BeReal to skyrocket due to its unique, unfiltered approach to social media, making it the second most popular social networking app with 53 million users as of October, according to the Apple store.
BeReal allows users to connect with friends by notifying them to post a candid photo once a day, and it promotes people sharing their most authentic selves rather than a curated version of their lives. BeReal. The app gives users two minutes to capture a photo, which remains for two minutes, then becomes part of a full calendar of past BeReals that are available for users to scroll through at any time. People who have the app can’t see other people’s photos until they post their own.
BeReal is just one example of the Gen-Z shift towards casual social media, replacing the heavily-edited, staged portion of someone’s life. Many students first downloaded BeReal in order to share what they’re doing throughout the day, whether it’s something significant like attending a party, or something simple, like working on homework.
But the app still allows for performative posting. Users often wait to post until they are with friends or engaged in a fun activity. Sometimes students have to wait because they can’t post while they are in classes or at school.
Users also find ways to hide the number of retakes.
“BeReal can sometimes not be good, and has no point because there’s times where I don’t post on time because I’m at school, only if school allows us to have our phones out!” said senior Amel Hollimon.
As Gen-Z trends towards normalizing casual and authentic posting on social media, apps such as BeReal foster a more intimate view into people’s lives. Whether the app will continue its success or fade away remains unclear, but sustaining the app’s mission could be a step towards a healthier approach to social media.